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Mason, John Young

MASON, JOHN YOUNG (1799-1859), American political leader and diplomatist, was born in Greenesville county, Virginia, on the 18th of April 1799. Graduating at the university of North Carolina in 1816, he studied law in the famous Litchfield (Connecticut) law school, and in 1819 was admitt to practice in Southampton county, Virginia. He served in thi Virginia house of delegates in 1823-1827, in the state consti tutional convention of 1820-1830, and from 1831 to 1837 i the National House of Representatives, being chairman of t committee on foreign affairs in 1835-1836. He was secreta of the navy in President Tyler's cabinet (1844-1845), and w, attorney-general (1845-1846) and secretary of the navy (1841 1849), succeeding George Bancroft, under President Polk. H was president of the Virginia constitutional convention of 1851 and from 1853 until his death at Paris on the 3rd of Octo 1859, was United States minister to France. In this capacit he attracted attention by wearing at the court of Napoleon III. a simple diplomatic uniform (for this he was rebuked by Secretary of State W. L. Marcy, who had ordered America ministers to wear a plain civilian costume), and by joining wit James Buchanan and Pierre Soule, ministers to Great Britai and Spain respectively, in drawing up (Oct. 1854) the famou: Ostend Manifesto. Hawthorne called him a " fat-brained, good-hearted, sensible old man"; and in politics he was a typical Virginian of the old school, a state's rights Democrat, upholding slavery and hating abolitionism.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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